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UAA’s new hockey coach will earn considerably more than UAF’s new hockey coach

  • Author: Beth Bragg
    | Sports
  • Updated: June 2
  • Published June 2

Matt Curley, the newly named UAA Seawolf head hockey coach, talks to the press in the Seawolf locker room at the Wells Fargo Sports Center in Anchorage, AK on Saturday April 21, 2018. (Bob Hallinen / ADN)

When it comes to both annual salary and potential bonus money, UAA's new hockey coach got a better deal than UAF's new hockey coach.

Then again, UAA's Matt Curley arguably faces a more difficult task than UAF's Erik Largen.

He takes over a program that was 4-26-4 last season — no other team in the nation had fewer wins than the Seawolves — and has had only had one winning season since joining the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in 1993-94.

Both men will earn six-figure salaries in their first year as NCAA Division I head hockey coaches, and both can add to their riches by meeting annual performance goals.

Curley will earn $175,000 as the UAA coach, and Largen will make $140,000 as the UAF coach, according to contract information supplied by both universities.

Curley could earn another $78,000 in bonuses if he and his team meet various on-ice and classroom goals – his contract lists 11 performance bonuses in all.

Largen's contract includes two available bonuses that could add up to $13,860.

That leaves Curley, 35, with potential earnings of $253,000 in his first season on the job. Largen, 31, could earn as much as $153,860.

In the event Curley orchestrates one of the biggest turnarounds in college hockey history and takes the Seawolves to the national championship next season, he'd be rewarded with at least $36,000 in bonus money for winning a national title:

— $6,000 for qualifying for the 16-team NCAA tournament;

— $5,000 for each tournament victory for a potential total of $20,000 (it takes four tournament victories to win it all);

— $10,000 for a national championship.

The majority of Curley's other available bonuses would reward unprecedented achievements by the Seawolves. Besides the bonuses he would win for capturing a national championship, Curley also could earn:

— $2,500 for winning the annual Governor's Cup series against UAF. The Nanooks have won every Governor's Cup series since 2010, although their three championships from 2010-12 were vacated due to NCAA infractions.

— $4,000 for a winning season (defined as a winning percentage of .501 or better).

— $6,000 for the WCHA regular-season championship.

— $8,000 for the WCHA post-season tournament championship.

— $8,000 for hosting a first-round WCHA playoff series.

— $3,000 for being named WCHA coach of the year.

— $6,000 for being named the national coach of the year.

— $3,000 to $4,500 if the hockey team meets or exceeds various NCAA Academic Progress Rate scores, which measure a team's academic performance and student retention.

Other benefits include a $250 bi-weekly car allowance and 20 tickets to every UAA home hockey game.

Curley's contract does not include a bonus for increased attendance at Sullivan Arena, which in the last 25 years has plummeted from 6,406 in 1993-94 to 1,998 last season. When former coach Matt Thomas was hired in 2013, his contract included a sliding-scale bonus of $2,500 to $3,500 if the average attendance rose to 4,800 or more – something that never happened in Thomas' five years at UAA.

Thomas earned a base salary of $200,000 during his final season, according to UAA. He was paid $150,000 in his first season.

Largen, meanwhile, is getting paid considerably more than interim coach Lance West earned last year and considerably less than longtime coach Dallas Ferguson was paid in 2016-17.

In Ferguson's ninth and final season with the Nanooks, he had a 12-year contract worth $162,240 a year, according to information provided by UAF. Available bonuses added up to $34,000, giving him potential total earnings of $196,240.

West worked last season on a nine-month contract worth $75,000 in base salary. His contract also included $34,000 worth of potential bonus money, for a possible total of $109,000.

Largen's available bonuses are $6,735 for winning the WCHA post-season tournament and $7,125 for a team grade-point average of 3.4 or higher.

Largen's bonus package also includes the use of a sponsor-provided vehicle, if one is available.

In 2015, bgsuhockey.com — a website that covers the Bowling Green  hockey team — did a survey of WCHA coaching salaries. At the time, the highest salaried coach in the 10-team league was Minnesota State's Mike Hastings, who received an annual salary of $290,000 with no available bonuses. The lowest paid was Lake Superior State's Damon Whitten, who received an annual salary of $100,000 with an additional $40,000 available in bonuses.

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